Improving the energy efficiency of your commercial building can reduce company expenses and improve your bottomline. But, where do you start in the effort of becoming more efficient?
At the outset, you need to have a clear understanding of how your building is currently performing. A building energy audit can be a helpful place to start because, not only does it provide an evaluation of how efficient your building is, but it can also help chart the path forward.
Energy assessments are in many ways about identifying energy saving opportunities. They enable you to find ways to increase your asset values, lower your ownership costs and provide insight into how to go about reducing your energy usage and carbon emissions.
The first goal of an assessment is to gain a complete understanding of current consumption levels. In this endeavour, Active Business Services has a team of energy consultants who work with your company to understand your targets and where you are starting from.
In the initial steps of an energy assessment the company’s utility bills will be analyzed. Based on historical data, a summary will be collected on service fees and the areas and processes served by each utility. Average load factors and the billing rate schedules will also be looked at.
From there, business operations will undergo an on-site survey where all systems and equipment will be evaluated for performance and efficiency. This includes, lighting, heating and cooling, exhaust fans, hot water heaters, and plug and process loads.
The condition of the building, equipment performance and runtime will be reviewed to ensure temperature, pressure, flow and humidity sensors are properly calibrated.
In order to have a full understanding of operational procedures, staff members will be interviewed to best determine the building’s true hours of operation, current controls and any areas of concern the staff may have.
From there we would run a number of diagnostic tests. Insulation would be inspected, ducts would be examined for leakage, ventilation systems and exhaust fans would undergo flow measurements.
After completing the in-depth evaluation, the assessment team will scrutinize every aspect of the building’s operation in order to develop a plan of action to streamline energy efficiency.
The audit will outline a number of recommendations, giving you concrete steps to reach your target energy reduction goals. Recommendations include estimated costs and payback timelines.
In many situations we recommend companies consider implementing changes such as lighting retrofits, lamp replacements, adding variable speed drives to fans and pumps, adding daylight controls, replacing HVAC units to high efficiency models, changing constant air volume to variable air volume, rewiring lighting systems or upgrading to Energy Star equipment and appliances.
When it comes down to it, whether you act on these recommendations or not, an energy assessment is a valuable tool that can provide a detailed overview of how your building is currently performing and provide you with a road map to a more energy efficient future.